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    Breaking Ground

    Charting Our Future in a Pandemic Year

    and others

    4 Stars on Goodreads Read Reviews

    As a pandemic and racial reckoning exposed society’s faults, Christian thinkers were laying the groundwork for a better future.

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    Ebook Once you place your order you will be able to choose from 2 e-book formats: Epub and Pdf. Buy for $20.00

    About The Book

    A public health and economic crisis provoked by Covid-19. A social crisis cracked open by the filmed murder of George Floyd. A leadership crisis laid bare as the gravity of a global pandemic met a country suffocating in political polarization and idolatry.

    In the spring of 2020, Comment magazine created a publishing project to tap the resources of a Christian humanist tradition to respond collaboratively and imaginatively to these crises. Plough soon joined in the venture. So did seventeen other institutions. The web commons that resulted – Breaking Ground – became a one-of-a-kind space to probe society’s assumptions, interrogate our own hearts, and imagine what a better future might require.

    This volume, written in real time during a year that revealed the depths of our society’s fissures, provides a wealth of reflections and proposals on what should come after. It is an anthology of different lenses of faith seeking to understand how best we can serve the broader society and renew our civilization.

    Contributors include Anne Snyder, Susannah Black, Mark Noll, N. T. Wright, Gracy Olmstead, Doug Sikkema, Patrick Pierson, Jennifer Frey, J. L. Wall, Michael Wear, Dante Stewart, Joe Nail, Benya Kraus, Patrick Tomassi, Amy Julia Becker, Jeffrey Bilbro, Marilynne Robinson, Cherie Harder, Joel Halldorf, Irena Dragas Jansen, Katherine Boyle, L. M. Sacasas, Jake Meador, Joshua Bombino, Chelsea Langston Bombino, Aryana Petrosky Roberts, Stuart McAlpine, Heather C. Ohaneson, Oliver O’Donovan, W. Bradford Littlejohn, Anthony M. Barr, Michael Lamb, Shadi Hamid, Samuel Kimbriel, Christine Emba, Brandon McGinley, John Clair, Kurt Armstrong, Peter Wehner, Jonathan Haidt, Dhananjay Jagannathan, Phil Christman, Gregory Thompson, Duke Kwon, Carlo Lancellotti, Tara Isabella Burton, Charles C. Camosy, Joseph M. Keegin, Luke Bretherton, Tobias Cremer, and Elayne Allen.

    View Table of Contents

    About The Authors

    Susannah Black Roberts

    Susannah Black Roberts is a senior editor of Plough. Read More

    Anne Snyder

    Anne Snyder is the editor-in-chief of Comment and the founder of Breaking Ground, a collaboration of institutions with a Christian humanist approach. She hosts The Whole Person Revolution podcast and is the author of The Fabric of Character: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Renewing our Social and Moral Landscape. Read More

    Mark Noll

    Mark Noll is retired as a history professor from Wheaton College and the University of Notre Dame. Read More

    N. T. Wright

    A leading bible scholar and former Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright is professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews. Read More

    Gracy Olmstead

    Gracy Olmstead is a journalist whose writing has appeared in the American Conservative, the Week, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others. Read More

    Jennifer Frey

    Jennifer A. Frey is associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. Read More

    Michael Wear

    Michael Wear is Chief Strategist for The AND Campaign and co-author of Compassion (&) Conviction: The AND Campaign’s Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement. Read More

    Danté Stewart

    Danté Stewart is a speaker and a writer whose work in the areas of race, religion, and politics has been featured on CNN and in the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Sojourners, The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, Comment, and elsewhere. Read More

    Marilynne Robinson

    Marilynne Robinson is an award-winning and much-beloved novelist and essayist. Read More

    Christine Emba

    Christine Emba is a columnist for The Washington Post writing about ideas and society. Read More

    Tara Isabella Burton

    Tara Isabella Burton is an author, a columnist for the Religion News Service and a contributing editor at the American Purpose. Read More

    Phil Christman

    Phil Christman teaches first-year writing at the University of Michigan and is the editor of the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing. Read More

    Jeffrey Bilbro

    Jeffrey Bilbro is the editor-in-chief at Front Porch Republic and the author of several books. Read More

    L. M. Sacasas

    L. M. Sacasas is associate director of the Christian Study Center of Gainesville, Florida. Read More

    Oliver O'Donovan

    Oliver O’Donovan, born 1945, held chairs in Oxford and Edinburgh, and is now an Honorary Professor at St Andrews. Read More

    Jonathan Haidt

    Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where his research focuses on the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures. Read More

    J. L. Wall

    J. L. Wall is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Michigan and is the author of Situating Poetry: Covenant and Genre in American Modernism. Read More

    Patrick Tomassi

    Patrick Tomassi is a teacher and writer in Portland, Oregon, his native city. He helps organize the annual New York Encounter and is a contributing editor at Veritas Journal. Read More

    Amy Julia Becker

    Amy Julia Becker is an award-winning writer and speaker on faith, family, disability, privilege, and healing. She is the author of four books and hosts the Love Is Stronger Than Fear podcast. Read More

    Anthony M. Barr

    Anthony M. Barr is a senior research assistant at The Brookings Institution. He has an MPP from Pepperdine University and a BA from Eastern University. He has written for a variety of publications including Fare Forward, Strong Towns, and the University Bookman. Read More

    Shadi Hamid

    Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. Read More

    Brandon McGinley

    Brandon McGinley is the deputy editorial page editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a contributing editor at Plough. Read More

    Dhananjay Jagannathan

    Dhananjay Jagannathan is an assistant professor of philosophy at Columbia University, where he works in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and the history of ethics. Read More

    Joseph M. Keegin

    Joseph M. Keegin is a writer and editor at Athwart and The Point currently living in Chicago. Read More

    Kurt Armstrong

    Kurt Armstrong lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with his wife, Erika, and their three children. Read More

    James Matthew Wilson

    James Matthew Wilson is the Cullen Foundation Chair in English Literature and Professor of Humanities and the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of St. Thomas. Read More

    Brad Littlejohn

    Brad Littlejohn is president of the Davenant Institute and Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Read More


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    Table of Contents

    SUMMER (June – August 2020)

    Founding Vision – Anne Snyder
    From Ashes – Susannah Black
    What Kind of Turning Point? – Mark Noll
    God and the Pandemic – N. T. Wright
    Wendell Berry’s Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic – Gracy Olmstead
    The Atmosphere – Doug Sikkema
    Verse Lines When the Streets Are on Fire – James Matthew Wilson
    Christianity and the Social Question – Patrick Pierson
    Political Wisdom and the Limits of Expertise – Jennifer Frey
    The Habits of Exile – J. L. Wall
    A Politics Worse than Death – Michael Wear
    Alright – Dante Stewart
    When Place Becomes Paramount – Joe Nail, Benya Kraus

    AUTUMN (September – November 2020)

    Portland: On the Ground – Patrick Tomassi
    Is God Anti-Racist? – Amy Julia Becker 
    Going Dark – Jeffrey Bilbro 
    Story, Culture, and the Common Good  – Marilynne Robinson, Cherie Harder 
    A Tale of Two Evangelicalisms – Joel Halldorf 
    Observations of a New Citizen – Irena Dragas Jansen
    Exodus – Katherine Boyle
    The Skill of Hospitality – L. M. Sacasas
    Politics Strike Back – Jake Meador
    God Has Heard – Joshua Bombino, Chelsea Langston Bombino 

    WINTER (December 2020 – February 2021)

    Praying Through the Political Divides in the Family – Aryana Petrosky Roberts
    Good Grief – Stuart McAlpine 
    Preparing for Death: Philosophy, Meet Theology – Heather C. Ohaneson
    Politics and Political Service – Oliver O’Donovan
    Justice in a Time Out of Joint – W. Bradford Littlejohn 
    What Is Policing For, and How Do We Reform It? – Anthony M. Barr
    Biden’s Augustinian Call for Concord – Michael Lamb
    What Is Unity? – Shadi Hamid, Samuel Kimbriel, Christine Emba
    Relativism Is Out. Truth Is In. – Brandon McGinley
    Taking It Outside – John Clair
    Words and Flesh: Pastoring in a Post-truth World – Kurt Armstrong 
    Arguments for the Sake of Heaven – Peter Wehner, Jonathan Haidt

    SPRING (March – May 2021)

    Courage, Citizenship, and the Limits of Autonomy – Dhananjay Jagannathan
    How to Be White – Phil Christman
    The Call to Own – Gregory Thompson, Duke Kwon 
    The Turning Point – Carlo Lancellotti
    On Good Parties – Tara Isabella Burton
    The Horror of Nursing Homes – Charles C. Camosy 
    Be Not Afraid – Joseph M. Keegin 
    Recovering Democratic Politics – Luke Bretherton
    Democracy after God – Tobias Cremer
    The Small Magazine Project – Elayne Allen
    Breaking Ground – Susannah Black
    Beholding Ground – Anne Snyder